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After more than forty years as a metal worker I retired. Only then could I pursue my fondest wishes to walk the streets of the old western towns that come to mind whenever cowboys and the old west are mentioned.
I spent my summers in the early 1950s as a kid on my grandfather's farm in Las Animas Colorado. Even at that age I could see the old west in those surroundings. I was so close to the old west but I knew it was gone to the pages of history. Like most kids of that age with a wild imagination I could bring it all back like I was really there.
In Jake Cleary and the Colorado Reckoning I called my grandfathers farm the Rising Sun Ranch. I guess at the young age of ten the fictional stories I now write had their beginnings on that old dirt farm in the mind of a kid who knew he was born too late so he brought it all back with a vivid imagination.
I have traveled from one corner of Colorado to the other and have visited numerous locations in many states where the old west left its mark. I have traveled Arizona and spent several nights in Tombstone. I saw the stone covered graves to the McLauri and the Clantons. I visited Lincoln, New Mexico home of the Lincoln County War, Idaho and totally covered Nevada. I got married in Pioche Nevada which was probably the deadliest town in the west.
I read the grave markers on Boot Hill in Pioche. I've visited the resting place of the greatest pistoleer in history, James Bulter Hickok who rests in Dead Wood South Dakota. I saw the grave of the most famous shooter that ever walked, William Bonnie (The Kid). I have walked in the footsteps of Billy the Kid, John Tunstall, Alexander McSween the very people that put the Lincoln Count war into history.
Most of the locations in The Reckoning do exist and I have been to them. Fort Ross is strictly fictional; it is defiantly part of a kid's imagination.
I presently live in Ely Nevada, a small mining town that has its own stories yet to be told. Ely is one of the last Western towns that still has its share of legal brothels.